An Introduction to Kalari - a Workshop
Kalari unique training methods increase stamina, strength and flexibility of one’s body. Kalarippayattu is considered as one of the most comprehensive martial arts. A student of kalari practices various forms of physical exercises, postures, stances and movements. At later stage one learns how to use wooden and bladed weapons: sword, dagger, sticks, urumi (flexible sword) and other traditional weapons are used.
- Oriental Martial arts- introduction to the characteristic features of various martial arts
- Origin of Kalari and its development in Kerala; styles and masters.
- The kalari – place of training and its characteristics, rules of training and discipline
- Aim of physical exercises in kalari – relaxation and energy control techniques
- How to develop a deeper level of perception.
Meithari – physical training: practice aimed at development of flexibility of body and coordination.
1 SALUTATION (KALARI VANDANAM)– Kalaripayattu is practiced in a spiritual atmosphere. The training starts with salutations to gurus and tradition. Kalari Vandanam combines different postures and movements; it aims at complete body and mind coordination. The training ends with similar sequence of salutations.
2) Postures (VADIVU) In vadivu, importance is given to the posture of the body. The kalari masters codified eight types of vadivus i.e. postures. The eight vadivus are: Varaha - Wild Boar, Gaja - Elephant, Marjara - Cat, Simham - Lion, Sarpam - Snake, Kukkuda - Cock, Mayura - Peacock and Asva – horse. The postures are taught separately and then combined with various movements, jumps and kicks.
Stretching and Leg Exercises (KAL): There are various types of leg exercises (kicks) that are suitable for developing flexibility, proper balance and coordination. In kalari kicking techniques are used as dynamic form of stretching. The movement during these exercises is from east to west and back while the Gurukkal (Instructor/Master) gives commands. The commands of the Gurukkal, known as Vaithari are rhythmic and aid in timing of various movements. The basic legs exercises can be listed as follows:
a) Ner-kal – frontal kick with straight leg
b) Tirichikal - “pendulum kick”, a student is required to kick straight, turn around and kick again in one smooth movement .
c) Vidikal – round, outside kick
d) Kon-kal – “corner kick”, diagonal kick
e) Irti-kal – “sitting leg”, a student delivers straight kick , moves to sitting position and immediately stands up to kick again.
4) Meipayattu: Meipayattu means a set of physical exercises designed to achieve peak physical fitness and flexibility of the body. They include acrobatics, different types of kicks and jumps . Students learn how to combine animal postures and kicks - they gradually learn various movements, blocks and attacks that can be used for self-defense.
5) ELEMENTS OF SELF-DEFENCE – application of chosen techniques and movements for self-defense.Qi Gong – Easy exercieses that can be combined with any martial art practice to improve stamina and general health. Qi Gong can be introduced in between strenous exercises for relaxation and regulation of breathing.